What I’m about to tell you comes as a shock to me, even as I have been watching the numbers tick closer and closer the past few months. It has stared me down as my posts became farther in between saying, “Is this all you’ve got?” like a friend who’s trying to motivate me to do something, reach something, but unfortunately is disguised as a mean twelve-year-old waiting to point and laugh at me when I trip over my feet playing kickball. I’m being dramatic, but this post is cause for drama because it is, in fact, my 900th post! I admit, that’s an unreasonably large number. But it’s true, folks: post number 900.
Post numero uno went a little something like this: “I begin this blog, today, September 7, 2009 with many goals and aspirations in mind, most which will not most likely be achieved; however, one must dream. Today marks the tenth day of my senior year in highschool. I’m beginning this blog hoping to document the fabulous year ahead of me; the growth, the ideas, the thoughts, the experiences…” And here I am, a few years and, apparently, 900 posts later about to graduate from college and begin a master’s program in journalism. I wouldn’t have believed you if you had told eighteen-year-old me that this writing space would become what it is now, that I would spend an entire year posting every single day, that I would create a place to relate to strangers and friends and strangers who became friends, and maybe most importantly, create a reference to document and reflect on the ways I would grow as a writer and a human being.
So to mark this ridiculous milestone, I’d like to write a little about what has happened over the past three and a half years that has kept me here and kept me writing.
Bloggers constantly balance the work of not taking themselves too seriously and convincing others to take them seriously. Lets face it, there are a lot of people writing blogs that aren’t saying much of anything. Maybe I was one of those as a naive teenager who’s grown into a slightly less naive young adult, constantly trying to figure out what she’s doing here. And that’s okay, I think, because that was precisely the point from the beginning. But the way I came to blogging was strange. I wasn’t looking to inform exactly, but merely to contribute my own voice to this digital space that was inviting me. In the short-lived flourishing days of Xanga and Myspace, I taught myself little bits of HTML and wrote diary-style entries about my life. And from there, a dialogue opened with friends, and each of these platforms was another way to communicate, to reach out; the same way I wrote notes I passed in class, then left AOL away messages, then emailed and messaged and texted and tweeted and blogged and instagrammed and did everything I could, and do now more than ever. I would do whatever I could to capture a instance, a moment, a feeling, anything and everything.
I don’t have an objective understanding of what this means for my generation, as I’m a product of it, still completely wrapped in this unavoidable mess of social media that often has me aching to cut myself off and to simplify. But the web of social media is neither completely bad or completely good, so I keep spinning, happy for the conveniences it offers me.
While my writing was certainly diary-like, it’s important to recognize that I wasn’t writing in a diary at all; I was writing somewhere in the digital space where anyone could read it. And as I’ve learned in every English class since 5th grade, writing has to be constantly aware of its audience. So I wrote and still write to an undefined You, a group of human beings (presumably) who materialize only insomuch as View Counts, Likes, and Comments. And unlike writing in a diary, my writing took on the potential to say something to someone, which was meaningful even if no one was reading it. It was the potential that mattered.
But what has come of all of this is a love for writing, a love that developed over the years not only in countless writing workshops and late nights writing and revising papers and stories and poems, but also 3 AM post-concert write-ups and thunderstorm-induced posts which were not-so-cryptically about love when I had no idea what it meant, and loneliness and fear and all of the things that keep me awake at night and teach me that being a writer has nothing to do with A+ papers.
All this to say, thanks for sticking with me. Thanks for being patient and caring enough to give this young writer a chance to be young and frivolous and mess up over and over again and figure out what it means to be a not only a writer, but a human being.